Our Moral Imperative
by Dan Rupli

Neckties have never made any sense to me. They serve no practical purpose whatsoever, and over the years, a good quality silk necktie can now cost about as much as I used to pay for my suits at J.C. Penny’s. That is why I have gotten into the habit of shopping for these hated neck chokers at the Goodwill Store, where, for a couple of bucks I can buy almost new looking all silk ties that would cost $75 bucks at Macy’s.

Last Friday I had picked out three really nice looking ties at the Goodwill Store, all with prestigious labels, and one made from no ordinary silk, but actual “Imported Italian Silk.” Nothing but the best for $6.97!

While waiting to pay, I was preceded in line by a middle aged lady who had purchased all of her family members’ Christmas presents (consisting of used clothing) at Goodwill, and she was fumbling through her purse to pay for her purchases. She brought forth carefully wrapped rolls of nickels, dimes, and pennies, and shook other loose change from her purse, coming up $3 dollars short of her total bill of $47 dollars. While she was rummaging through the clothing to decide which items not to buy, I quietly slipped the sales lady the extra 3 dollars. The lady making the purchase expressed her sincere gratitude, explaining to us that her husband was quite sick, and that her family was having a very hard time getting through this holiday season.

I have always considered myself blessed to have been born when I was, and where I was, with all of the advantages of being white, and growing up “suburban” in America. I have had the additional advantage of having traveled extensively in our magnificent Country, and throughout the far reaches of the world. I have witnessed both the extraordinary beauty and richness of our tiny planet, and the unspeakable pain and sadness of the impoverished people I met along the way.

All this has shaped my political ethic and beliefs. I am a man “of the left” who is completely devoted in his seventh decade of life to resetting the human table so there is a place at that table for every breathing child of God on this earth. I have concluded that we live in a kind of glorious global cornucopia, where there is plenty enough of everything-food, fuel, fiber, shelter, basic services and facilities so that there is no longer any valid excuse whatsoever for poverty. Anywhere! Especially here! Period!

I am finished making political arguments against the completely selfish and self absorbed corporate cretins of the right and their pimp-like lobbyists. You can never win an argument for equitable redistribution of resources when the deck is so stacked against ordinary citizens, and where the national media is owned and controlled by the very same people who are snuffing the life out of the middle class, and standing on the necks of the poor. My own mother was a child of poverty in rural Kansas in the 1920’s. My young Filipino wife held her 12 year old sister in her arms as she died of starvation in 2000, and her father failed by 90 days in 2002 to fulfill his goal of living to be 50 because of tuberculosis, so poverty is a very personal thing with me.

The only arguments that can win the day are completely moral in nature, and the profound impact of recent positions forcefully advanced by Pope Francis regarding the twin evils of trickle down economics and income inequality is rapidly gaining traction throughout the World. And none too soon.

Elizabeth Warren, Bernie Sanders, Sherrod Brown, and others in the Senate are leading the political argument against the “one percent” who own and control such a hideously disproportionate amount of the nation’s wealth. And our President is coming out stronger on this issue as well, enjoying the moral “cover” that the Pope is providing.

Now it is time for our Country’s clergy, philosophers, poets, historians, artists, students, and teachers (and lawyers, even)to weigh in loudly and forcefully on the leading moral outrage of our time-the corporate elitist takeover of capital, wealth, and the very institutions that were intended to protect us from all of this. They need to confront on moral, ethical, and religious grounds in the pulpits, in the class rooms, in the courts, and in the streets those issues of social and economic justice that are tearing us asunder. The so called “Christian right” needs to be smoked out regarding their religious hypocrisy, and confronted directly regarding their perversion of Christian dogma, whose basic underpinnings revolve around caring for the poor and the powerless.

If we can approach the New Year making the issue of economic justice a powerful moral cause like we did with the Civil Rights Movement in the 1960s, the political solutions will naturally follow, and, as my early hero and inspiration, Martin Luther King, Jr. taught me and my generation “Justice will roll down like a mighty stream.”

My best to all of you in the coming year, and especially to that lady in the Goodwill Store with the rolled up coins and the sick husband.

Dan Rupli
Member, Board of Governors, WNDC

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